By Les Asselstine
Create a centre where students are free to explore and create using a variety of tools and materials. This centre provides students with opportunities to use and develop the skills of:
- observing, classifying, estimating, measuring, patterning, communicating, building (constructing, assembling, fastening), planning (designing), evaluating and problem solving
Explore the concepts of
- matter, size, texture, mass, quantity, change, energy, space, resources
- bench with one or two wide-jaw vices
- safety goggles
- tool/nail aprons
- small hammers and nails
- screw drivers and screws (Robertson)
- fine-toothed saws
- white glue
- tape measure
- building materials, such as softwood, plastic bottles, corrugated cardboard, or styrofoam
- stump for hammering nails
- Involve students in developing and monitoring safety rules.
e.g.– use of goggles
– number of people at the centre
– consideration of others
- Introduce tools a few at a time. It’s permissible to hide the hammers some days!
- Introduce fastening materials after the students have had a few days to build without them.
- Allow time for self-directed experimentation with the tools and building.
- Provide pictures or books to suggest possible projects.
- Provide building challenges.
e.g. – Build a home for…
– Build something related to a story.
- Ask questions to extend activity and thought.
e.g. – How does this work?
– What do you do with this?
– Why does it feel warm when you rub with the sandpaper?
– How will you get these parts to stay together?
Through observation and direct communication, assess how well the student:
- chooses and uses a tool appropriate for the task
- works safely
- perseveres to complete a task
- chooses and uses materials of appropriate size and shape to complete a task
- manipulates tools to complete a task
- describes a tool and its use
- describes a sequence or order of tasks
- communicates instructions
- explains cause/effect relationships.